Christmas Gifts 2011

So, as many of you are aware, I am broke!

I graduated from my first degree and then went on to do another. I was advised to withdraw on health grounds and haven’t found a job yet… So I’m broke.

This year I told everyone not to expect a Christmas present… Even Mr R&R and I aren’t bothering this year…

Well, I felt awful for not having anything to give to anyone so I decided to make some homemade confectionary and I bought some little jars for 50p each from B&M, but I fell in love with them and couldnt bear to give them away, knowing they’d probably just be thrown away after use!

I saw on one of Nigella Lawson’s Christmas shows, a recipe for chocolate and pistachio fudge. It looked mega easy and so I thought I’d give it a try. It was literally a can of condensed milk, one and a half bars of Dairy Milk and two tablespoons of butter, mixed with a bag of pistachios!

I bought some little cellophane bags and some ribbon to tie them.

When I bought the condensed milk, I noticed that there are recipes on the back. So I bought an extra can and decided to try the Caramel Shortbread recipe on the back of it.

I have to say, they were both really easy and they taste OK. The fudge doesn’t taste too fudgy, more just chocolatey… and the caramel in the Caramel Shortbread was very condensed milk-tasting, I probably won’t use as much next time. Although the recipe did call for soft brown sugar, but I only had light brown muscovado sugar so I used that – that might be what went wrong…

At least I know for next time.

When I came to testing the fudge last night, I cut it into squares to put in the bags but noticed that they weren’t set enough on the bottom. So at 2am, I was stood in the kitchen turning over 46 little squares of fudge to put back in the fridge!

This morning I came to cut up the Caramel Shortbread. It said it only made 16 but I thoought I could make the squares smaller and make more. So I scored the chocolate on the top and heated my knife up in hot water to try cutting it into squares – my chocolate just cracked and the squares were ruined so my step-dad (who is a chef) taught me how to heat up a small knife on the open flame on the gas stove and cut it like that… Took ages but worked a treat!

So there’s little packages for my parents, the boyfriend’s parents, my grandparents (both sets), my brother and his girlfriend and the boyfriends sister and her husband… the rest is for us 😛

On another note, I have been busy making scrapbooks for the girls in my Brownie pack (before we had to close). They’ve taken me ages and ended up costing loads, what with the price of printing 500+ photos, buying the scrapbooks, glue, paper to cover, etc, so it would have probably been easier to just buy them a little something. To be honest I kind of lost the will to live with them a little bit! But when we gave them out last night and a couple this morning, it was worth it all. Their little faces lit up, as did their parents’. It was really emotional!

I love my Brownies very dearly and I miss them every day! Even though I only saw them for an hour and a half, once a week, during term-time, I had gotten to know each and every one of them and it truly is an honour to be a part of a child’s life – to watch them grow from a tiny, shy seven year old, to a mature, kind and confident young lady at eleven!

I am so glad they liked their gifts and it made every effort well worth it! I love memories and I like the idea that I have given them a chance to remember their time with us.

My Grandma had been a Brownie leader before me, spending 40 years serving the Girl Guiding community, and it made me so proud when she had a look at them and said, “That’s a lovely idea – something I would have never even thought of!”

Oh, by the way, I did get Mr R&R a gift, I saw it and couldn’t resist – you’ll have to wait and see what it is though, in case he comes on here!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!




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